Tobacco retailers getting new cabinets ahead of display ban

Good Price Centre, a convenience store in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, has been using black opaque glass cabinets for its cigarettes since last week. The point-of-sale display ban for tobacco products begins in August.
Good Price Centre, a convenience store in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, has been using black opaque glass cabinets for its cigarettes since last week. The point-of-sale display ban for tobacco products begins in August.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

With slightly more than a month before a ban on the display of tobacco products for sale starts, many retailers - including provision shops and supermarkets - have already installed new cabinets to hide these goods.

A spokesman for the Tobacco Association (Singapore) said the three tobacco companies under it supply cigarettes to more than 4,000 retailers, Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday.

About 60 per cent of these retailers have installed the new cabinets before the point-of-sale display ban begins in August, the spokesman told the Chinese daily.

A check by Zaobao in Ang Mo Kio found that a number of shops have already changed their cigarette cabinets. These included convenience store Good Price Centre in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, which has been using black opaque glass cabinets for its cigarettes since last week.

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A Sheng Siong spokesman said suppliers were working with the supermarket to modify the way tobacco products are stored, adding that the cabinets for tobacco products in 80 per cent of the group's 42 outlets have already been fitted with sliding doors.

Meanwhile, an NTUC FairPrice spokesman said efforts to install opaque cabinets across the supermarket chain's 137 outlets were 95 per cent complete.

Prime Supermarket and Dairy Farm - which runs Cold Storage and Giant outlets - both said they are in the process of replacing their cabinets and expect to complete the task by August.

Some businesses have already been hit by a fall in sales due to the display ban. The owner of a provision store in Ang Mo Kio, who wished to be known only as Ms Li, said she has been making several hundred dollars less a day since she started using the opaque tobacco cabinets a month ago.

"Even though I display some tobacco products, some customers assume that just because they can't see the brands they want, my shop doesn't have them," she said, adding that customers who were there for cigarettes often buy other items at the same time.

The number of tobacco-licensed shops has been dwindling in recent years. In 2011, there were 5,555 such places. This fell to 4,764 last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2017, with the headline 'Tobacco retailers getting new cabinets ahead of display ban'. Print Edition | Subscribe